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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cutleaf Nightshade (Solanum Triflorumm NUTT.) Toxicity in Horses and Hamsters

Authors
item Stegelmeier, Bryan
item Lee, Stephen
item James, Lynn
item Gardner, Dale
item Panter, Kip
item Ralphs, Michael
item Pfister, James

Submitted to: Poisonous Plant Global Research and Solutions
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2006
Publication Date: June 20, 2007
Citation: Stegelmeier, B.L., Lee, S.T., James, L.F., Gardner, D.R., Panter, K.E., Ralphs, M.H., Pfister, J.A. 2007. Cutleaf nightshade (solanum triflorumm nutt.) toxicity in horses and hamsters. Poisonous Plant Global Research and Solutions, Chpt. 50, pp. 296 - 300.

Interpretive Summary: In most animals Solanum triflorum Nutt. (cutleaf nightshade) causes gastroenteritis, but in horses it causes salivation, frequent urination, diarrhea and colic. The purpose of this study was to develop a small animal model of poisoning and if possible, identify the neurotoxin. Thirty Syrian hamsters were randomly divided into 5 groups and dosed by gavage with 0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mg of plant suspended in 2 ml of water four times a day for 8 days. After dosing the animals were euthanized and samples were collected for biochemical and microscopic studies. None of the treated hamsters developed neurologic disease and there were no significant differences in serum electrolyte or biochemical between the groups. After several days of dosing, the high dose hamsters developed diarrhea and small labial ulcerations. Segmental portions of intestine and stomach were dilated with gas and mucoid exudates in all of the high dose animals. The adjacent mucosa was red and edematous. Microscopically these animals had patchy bleeding and necrosis of the gastrointestinal mucosa. These findings suggest that in rodents, cutleaf nightshade poisoning is due to the direct toxic effects of Solanum glycoalkaloids. Additional studies are needed to determine if cutleaf nightshade cholinergic toxins only affect horses or if they are specific to certain plants.

Technical Abstract: Solanum triflorum Nutt. (cutleaf nightshade) poisoning has been associated with gastroenteritis, but poisoned horses have severe salivation, frequent urination, diarrhea and colic. The purpose of this study was to develop a small animal model of poisoning and if possible, identify the neurotoxin. Thirty Syrian hamsters were randomly divided into 5 groups and dosed by gavage with 0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mg of plant suspended in 2 ml of water four times a day for 8 days. After dosing the animals were euthanized and samples were collected for biochemical and histologic studies. None of the treated hamsters developed cholinergic related clinical signs and there were no significant differences in serum electrolyte or biochemical between the groups. After several days of dosing, the high dose hamsters developed diarrhea and small labial ulcerations. Segmental portions of intestine and stomach were dilated with gas and mucoid exudates in all of the high dose animals. The adjacent mucosa was red and edematous. Histologically these animals had focally extensive hemorrhagic and necrotizing gastroenteritis. These findings suggest that in rodents, cutleaf nightshade toxicity is due to the direct toxic effects of Solanum glycoalkaloids. Additional studies are needed to determine if cutleaf nightshade cholinergic toxins only affect horses or if they are specific to plant phenotype.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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